Emeritus Society Spring 2023

  • Emeritus Society Spring 2023

About the Emeritus Society

The goal of the Emeritus Society is to provide stimulating noncredit opportunities for adult learners of all ages. The program provides a learning environment that affirms the unique attributes that the adult learner brings to the classroom – delight in the joy of learning, intellectual savvy, and substantive life experience. Students are encouraged and supported in pursuing their intellectual interests with like-minded peers. Our college-level courses are designed to satisfy a hunger for intellectual nourishment without the pressure of tests and grades.

This spring the program is excited to offer courses and lectures taught by outstanding UNC Greensboro noted for their scholarship and engaging classroom style. We hope you will find one or more of interest and join us.


Please be sure that the email address you provide is current. That email will be used to send you a course confirmation with more details and invite you to enter Zoom meetings (if applicable). In the weeks before classes start, you will be sent an introduction to Zoom materials. In addition, staff will be available a half-hour before the first class for orientation help. 

Emeritus Society courses are open to people of all ages and educational backgrounds. The program is a self-supporting arm of the University. Class fees, not tax dollars, are used to meet costs for the program. Each course costs $140.

You are registered only when payment is received. Register early to avoid inconvenience. Late registrants could miss important announcements such as last-minute changes in location. Instructors may not have enough materials for those registering late. Registration is on a first come, first served basis. If the class you want is filled, we keep a waiting list. Partial registrations to attend portions of the classes cannot be accepted. Detailed information on class location and parking will be supplied upon confirmation.


Please note: The charge will appear on your statement as being from Emeritus Society or SERVE, Inc.


To receive a refund, a written request must be received prior to the first class meeting. A $5 processing fee will be deducted from the refund. Cancellation requests received after the first class meeting but before the second meeting will receive a full refund minus a $15 cancellation fee.  ALL written requests should be emailed to emeritus@serve.org or mailed to:

Emeritus Society
5900 Summit Avenue, #201
Browns Summit, NC  27214


If you experience any issues registering please call (336) 740-0211 or email us at emeritus@serve.org.


    Emeritus Society Kick Off

    Democracy in a Global Context

    Course Details

    Democracy, from the Greek demokratia or “rule of the people,” is widely regarded as the pinnacle of human governance and a crowning achievement of human civilization.  However, we are increasingly coming to understand that democracy is a fragile treasure that many of us have taken for granted and a way of life that requires ongoing clarity, discipline and commitment.  Please join Dr. Ali as he reflects on some of the forces currently threatening democracy, the vision that continues to inspire our highest human aspirations, and the global context in which all of this is playing out.

    Wednesday, January 25, 11:00 am–12:15 pm

    Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

    No Charge, but for planning purposes registration is requested

    Omar H. Ali is Dean of Lloyd International Honors College and Professor of Comparative African Diaspora History at UNC Greensboro. A graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science, he received his Ph.D. in History from Columbia University. A world historian with a focus on the global African Diaspora, he is a former Carnegie Foundation North Carolina Professor of the year.

    Military Intelligence in WWII

    Course Details

    Good military intelligence is undeniably a necessary component of any successful military operation.  But intelligence is not invariably good, nor if good, used correctly.    Traditionally such intelligence was the result of spies or traitors whose reports gave insight into enemy intentions. Signals intelligence, that is the interception and reading of enemy radio and/or teletype transmissions emerged as an additional key source of reliable information on the enemy during the course of the Second World War.  But it required expert interpretation in order to convert it into battlefield-useful assessments of enemy strength, dispositions, and probable intentions.  This proved more difficult than is readily apparent and often took time and experience.  This course will examine examples of the use of such intelligence in WWII.

    1. Allied Breaking of Japanese and German Ciphers:  Magic and Ultra
    2. Matapan and Crete, 1941: Good and poor use of intelligence
    3. The Russian Front: Sorge and Operation Barbarossa, 1941
    4. B-Dienst and the Allied Merchant Marine Code, 1941-43
    5. Station HYPO and the Battle of Midway, June 1942
    6. The Double Cross System and Overlord, 1943-1944

      Mondays, 10:30 am – noon

      January 30 – March 6

      Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

      Ron Cassell (Ph.D., UNC Chapel Hill) Associate Professor Emeritus of History and fellow of the Royal Historical Society has long had an interest in the study of both world wars.  He is a recipient of the Alumni Teaching Excellence Award.

       Death and Dying in Ritual and Practice

      Course Details

      Part of being alive is the inevitability of death. Religions have always dealt with this fact by trying to make sense of death and dying.  From burials and cremations, tombs and memorials, afterlives and reincarnations, religions create worlds around death and dying. We will look at religion and death through what people do, how they perform, and how they create meaning around death and dying. Rather than focus primarily on images of death and the afterlife, we will instead look to how these ideas play out in practice through action in ritualized settings. We will begin with understanding how to make sense of these rituals, before briefly surveying some dominant traditional religious death rites, before finally looking to American innovations within these traditions, and some uniquely human (and non-human) rituals around death.

      1. What is Death?
      2. Death and Dying in World Religions from the East
      3. Death and Dying in World Religions from the West
      4. Ritual Innovations: Green Burial
      5. Ritual Innovations: Digital Burial
      6. Ritual Innovations: Beyond Human Death

        Mondays, 1:30 – 3:00 pm

        January 23 – February 27

        Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

        John W. Borchert (Ph.D., Syracuse University) teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at UNC Greensboro.  His teaching and research revolve around death and dying, religion and media, and American religion.  He is also the Associate Director of the Network for the Cultural Study of Videogaming at UNCG.

         The British Empire and the Modern World

        Course Details

        “The British Empire” designates the lands and peoples over which Great Britain exercised authority from the 17th to the 20th century. These component parts changed over time as did the methods Great Britain used to exploit and control them. Thus, the story of the British Empire is one of continuous evolution (right up to the present if the Commonwealth of Nations is viewed as the latest iteration of the British Empire).  To put it another way, the story of the British Empire is really the story of multiple empires.  But fundamentally, it is the story of globalization--the development of global interconnections, the global movement of peoples, goods, capital, and cultures. This is the story of the formation of the modern world, so if we were to ask how the world got to be the way it is, the story of the British Empire provides many answers.  In this class we will look, albeit in summary fashion, at the lengthy history of the British Empire(s) and try to understand how a relatively small island population managed to take over and (for better or worse) shape much of the rest of the world.

         To India and the Americas

        1. Further East: China and the Pacific
        2. Napoleon, Russia, India, and Central Asia
        3. Global Dominance and “Free Trade”
        4. African Engagements from North to South
        5. Final Transformations: 1914-2021

        Tuesdays, 10:00 – 11:30 am

        January 24 – March 7 (no class February 28)

        Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

        Stephen Ruzicka (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Professor of History at UNC Greensboro.  He is the recipient of the Alumni Teaching Excellence Award. As an ancient historian he writes about the 4th century B.C., but he likes to talk about everything.

        The Nobel Prize in Literature: Three Winners

        Course Details

        The Nobel Prize is regarded as the most prestigious international award in Literature. According to Alfred Nobel’s will, all five prizes should recognize those who “have conferred the greatest benefit to human kind,” but in addition, the literature prize should be awarded “to the person who . . . produced the most outstanding work in an idealistic direction”. From 1901 through 2022, the prize has gone to 119 writers, some of whom have been long forgotten and others who are still recognized as influential authors.

        Over the six weeks of this course we will discuss representative works of fiction by three recent Nobel prize winners. 
        • Mo Yan, Shifu, You’ll Do Anything for a Laugh (2001); China, Nobel Prize 2012.
        • Nadine Gordimer, July’s People (1981); South Africa, Nobel Prize 1991       
        • Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (2005); England, Nobel Prize 2017

        Each of these literary masterpieces raises challenging moral, social, and political questions. Mo Yan’s Shifu, a collection of short stories, covers the period from 1960 –1990 as China endured the Cultural Revolution and the transition to a capitalist economy. Gordimer’s July’s People imagines a race war that reveals how apartheid has morally debilitated even the whites who claim not to support it. Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go is set in a future England where cloning has become a widespread practice.

        The reading assignments will range from approximately 100 to 150 pages each week. As with a book club, each class will be a conversation in which we share our impressions and questions about these works of fiction and their reflections on contemporary society. If you love to read and talk about literature, I look forward to sharing the magic with you.

        Tuesdays, 1:30 – 3:00 pm

        January 24 – February 28

        Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

        Denise N. Baker (Ph.D., University of Virginia) is Professor Emerita who taught in the UNCG English Department for 45 years. She served in various administrative positions throughout the department and college, as well as being the speaker at UNCG’s first ever December commencement. She received the Tenured Alumni Teaching Excellence Award for 1995-96.


        Rhetoric That Changed the World

        Course Details

        How are people persuaded?  How do they respond to competing or contradictory claims and ideas and make decisions? Aristotle, who first described it, believed persuasive speech combined a deep understanding of human nature with skillful use of tools, especially language. When that combination was powerful enough, it could move hearers to action and belief. He called it rhetoric.

        We’ll examine effective rhetoric in film, art, literature and speech—pieces that made real change in hearts and minds--and explore how they succeeded in their aim. To help us, we’ll look at some recent studies of cognition, as well as ideas on the mind we’ve inherited from the ancients. Our own aim is to draw some conclusions about how artists of all kinds persuade us; and just as important, to understand how we evaluate their arguments and test our own.

        Some possibilities for our discussions:

        From the 19th C.:

        • “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Frederick Douglass
        • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
        • “Ride of the Valkyries,” Richard Wagner
        • The Eiffel Tower

        From the 20th C.:

        • A Room of One’s Own. Virginia Woolf
        • “Nobel Prize Speech,” Toni Morrison
        • “Guernica,” Pablo Picasso
        • Maus, Art Speigelman
        From the 21st C:
        • “Address to the United Nations,” Greta Thunberg
        • “The Danger of a Single Story,” Chimimanda Adiche
        • Protest Speech at the Capitol,” Parkland High School students
        • Wall-E

        Wednesdays, 10:30 am – noon

        February 1 – March 8

        Online via Zoom

        Hephzibah Roskelly (Ph.D., University of Louisville) is Professor Emeritus of Rhetoric and Composition.  She is the recipient of the Alumni Teaching Excellence Award and the UNC Board of Governor’s Teaching Excellence Award.

        Music from the 1800 to the Present: Redefining "Classical"

        Course Details

        Classical music…that’s just old boring music for old boring people, right? WRONG! Since the earliest of early days, “classical” composers have been on the cutting edge of what was popular in musical trends. Composers such as Bach, Handel, and Mozart provided the foundation for classical music. Every generation of composers since (Beethoven, Wagner, Debussy, etc.) has redefined it – leading us on to a path toward the modern era. If it weren’t for the efforts of these innovators, our modern musical favorites such as rock, pop, country, jazz, hip-hop, musical theater, etc. would not exist…or at the very least, would not be what they are today. Does this musical journey sound intriguing? Then this course is for you! This series will present an exploration of “classical” music, starting with the early 1800s until present day. In particular, we will learn how some of the biggest names in the business weren’t big just because they wrote beautiful music, but because they were on the cutting edge – creating something new and exciting that would eventually lead us to the music of today. Join us to find out how it happened.

        1. The Early 1800s: Blame Beethoven
        2. The Mid 1800s: Looking to the Past for the Sound of the Future
        3. The Late 1800s: A New Musical Language
        4. The Early 20thCentury: Pleasure and Pain
        5. The Mid 20thCentury: America the Beautiful
        6. The Modern Era: Redefining Classical Music

        Tuesdays, 10:00 – 11:30 am

        March 14 – April 18

        Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

        Brian Carter (DMA, University of Michigan) is a Lecturer at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro School of Music and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music at Elon University. Prior to recently returning to his home of Greensboro, he was a professional opera and classical concert singer, and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Music at Washington State University where he specialized in Vocal Studies and Literature, and History of Rock Music.

        Literary London

        Course Details

        “When one is tired of London, one is tired of life.”—Samuel Johnson

        Two great spectacles in the spring and summer of 2022—the June Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, and her state funeral in September—transfixed the world and reminded us that London is a site of deepest memory, whose streets are as thick with the storied past as with the busy present. In this course we will trace the connections between London’s singular places, its abundance of events and authors, and its place in the global imagination. Together we will read London literature like a map, while we read London itself like a tale. We will drill down through millennia of London life, from Roman conquest and construction and medieval ruin and renewal, through Renaissance and Reformation expansion, destruction, and restoration and Georgian and Victorian empire, to the cataclysms of modern war and the transformations of postmodern immigration. Thus the course will follow London’s always unfinished story arc from antiquity to the present, pausing to consider visions and vignettes of the city by some of its liveliest chroniclers: from Tacitus, Chaucer, Foxe, Shakespeare, and Milton; through Johnson, Blake, Wordsworth, Dickens, and Rossetti; to Woolf, Waugh, Churchill, Eliot, and Ali. Along the way, we will discuss poets, playwrights, and novelists imagining and re-imagining London city life; examine the roots of London theater from city churches, inns and taverns, and through the Globe, Covent Garden, and the West End; consider how London’s abandoned children haunted Victorian writers like Dickens; explore the urban roots of modern poetry; and probe the growing cracks in empire which led Modernists to condemn London’s “heart of darkness.” Together we will trace the indelible marks left by empire, industry, democracy, and blitz, and read the city’s rebirth as a complex post-imperial metropolis populated by inhabitants from every corner of the earth.          

        1. Roman & Medieval London (Caesar, Tacitus, Langland, Chaucer)
        2. Renaissance, Reformation, & Civil War (More, Foxe, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton)
        3. Eighteenth Century & Romantic London (Pope, Johnson, Blake, Keats, Wordsworth)
        4. Victorian London (Dickens Oliver Twist, Rossetti, Wilde, Conan Doyle)
        5. Wartime London (WW I poets, Woolf Mrs. Dalloway, Waugh, Churchill, Eliot)
        6. Postwar & Immigrant London (Pym Excellent Women, Ali Brick Lane)

        The course will be enriched by PowerPoint presentations of maps and site photos, along with a website displaying these materials and a list of optional literary readings.

          Wednesdays 10:00 – 11:30 am

          March 22 – April 26

          Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

          Christopher Hodgkins and Hope Howell Hodgkins (PhDs, University of Chicago) are UNCG professors of English who have been lovers of London life for over seventy years--combined. Chris is author of books on Renaissance literature, the Bible, and the British imperial imagination, and currently co-edits George Herbert: Complete Works for Oxford University Press (both digital and print) and directs the international George Herbert Society and UNCG’s Atlantic World Research Network. Hope has taught and published in literary-historical fields, including fairy tales, seventeenth-century poetry, early American frontier literature, and high modernist fiction. She is the author of the London-centric Style and the Single Girl: How Modern Women Re-Dressed the Novel, 1922-1977 (Ohio, 2016) and a writer of mysteries set in her native small-town Missouri. Together they teach UNCG study-abroad courses in and about London. They will accompany the upcoming international excursion Reading London: Town and Country, planned for July 24 through August 2, 2023 and visiting many of the sites discussed in this spring Emeritus Literary London course. Join them for their spring class, and the field trip!

          History's Mysteries

          Course Details

          This course offers a fun and light-hearted introduction to topics throughout history that are shrouded in mystery. From more traditional academic topics to the supernatural and urban legends, participants will examine primary sources related to each topic, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence, and decide for themselves what they believe is the most logical conclusion. Along the way, we’ll discuss the methods historians use to reconstruct the past so that you can apply these critical thinking skills in your own life. If you’ve always been curious about these mysterious topics and want the tools to analyze them critically, then this course is for you!

          1. What happened to the Lost Colony at Roanoke?
          2. Where did Amelia Earhart go?
          3. Who was D.B. Cooper?
          4. How did the Grail become Holy?
          5. Why do stories of Bigfoot endure?
          6. Can we know anything?

            Thursdays, 2:00 – 3:30 pm

            March 16 – April 20

            Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

            Joseph A. Ross (Ph.D., UNC Greensboro) is a visiting assistant professor in the history department at Wake Forest University and an occasional lecturer in UNCG’s Lloyd International Honors College. He began teaching in 2007 and loves to show his students how the past is relevant to all of us in the present, and how anyone can learn to think like a historian.

            Special Events

            The Profs Do the Movies

            Course Details

            The Inimitable Cary Grant

            Cary Grant was one of classic Hollywood’s greatest stars.  Born Archibald Leach in Bristol, England, in 1904, as a child he began working backstage in local theaters.  By the time he was an early teen he was performing onstage with a vaudeville group.  In the 1920s the troupe did a lengthy American tour.  When it returned to England, Grant stayed in New York, where he appeared in several Broadway shows.  In the 1930s he moved to Hollywood and established himself as what a critic has called the “epitome of masculine glamour.”  By 1938 Grant had developed the sophisticated screen persona that characterized the rest of his career.  His talent for comedy contributed to the charm and success of many of his biggest hits as he became Hollywood’s most debonair leading man.  This year’s “Profs Do the Movies” offers you three of Cary Grant’s finest films.

            Bringing Up Baby

            Paleontologist Grant becomes the love interest of a scatterbrained heiress (Katharine Hepburn), who has a pet leopard named Baby.  Hepburn falls for the straitlaced scientist, and comic chaos ensues.  Howard Hawks directed this definitive screwball comedy.

            Sunday, January 22, 1:30 – 5:00 pm

            UNCG School of Music

            Cost: $20


            Ingrid Bergman (the daughter of a German war criminal) works undercover with FBI agent Grant to bring to justice a ring of Nazis in South America following World War II.  The situation becomes complicated when the two fall in love as Bergman is instructed to seduce the leader of the Nazis (Claude Rains).  Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

            Sunday, February 12. 1:30 – 5:00 pm

            UNCG School of Music

            Cost: $20

            North by Northwest

            Grant is a self-satisfied, cynical New York advertising executive who is mistakenly kidnapped by a group of spies.  Pursued cross-country by the spies and accused of murder, he meets the beautiful, mysterious Eva Marie Saint on the train to Chicago.  James Mason is the criminal mastermind in this fast-paced spy thriller.   The crop-dusting scene is one of the iconic scenes in Hollywood movie history.  One of Alfred Hitchcock’s best-loved movies.

            Sunday, March 12, 1:30 – 5:00 pm

            UNCG School of Music

            Cost: $20

            Keith Cushman (Ph.D., Princeton University), Professor Emeritus of English, has written or edited seven books about D.H. Lawrence.  The recipient of two Fulbrights, he has lectured on modern English and American literature in Italy, Finland, the Czech Republic, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, India, Japan, and Korea.  He is the recipient of the Alumni Research Excellence Award.

            Ron Cassell (Ph.D., UNC Chapel Hill) Associate Professor Emeritus of History and fellow of the Royal Historical Society has long had an interest in 20th century British political history.  He is a recipient of the Alumni Teaching Excellence Award.

            Spring Community Lecture

            North Carolina before the Lost Colony?

            Course Details

            Joara: Archeology at the Intersection of Native American and Afro-Eurasian History

            Twenty years before the English "Lost Colony" on the Carolina coast, Spaniards and Africans explored the interior of North America. Based on his work with a team of archeologists and excavators, Dr. Ali will share the history of the 1567-1568 site near Morganton, NC, where after eighteen months of Iberian abuse, Native Americans revolted and burned down what was dubbed Fort San Juan on the location of the Native American town of Joara/Xuala.

            Friday, April 21, 11:30 am

            Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

            No charge, but for planning purposes registration is requested

            Omar H. Ali is Dean of Lloyd International Honors College and Professor of Comparative African Diaspora History at UNC Greensboro. A graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science, he received his Ph.D. in History from Columbia University. A world historian with a focus on the global African Diaspora, he is a former Carnegie Foundation North Carolina Professor of the year.

            Study Abroad

            Reading London: Town & Country
            July 24–August 2, 2023

            Course Details

            Come “read London”—and the English countryside—with your senses: hear a play at Shakespeare’s reconstructed Globe Playhouse, see Samuel Johnson’s writing garret in the Strand and sit in the Hampstead garden where John Keats heard his nightingale; then survey the heartrending displays about the real Oliver Twists of the Foundling Hospital, patronized by Handel and Hogarth and Dickens. We'll also visit literary Londoners’ rural retreats—including the Bloomsbury artists’ Sussex houses and gardens, Wiltshire’s Wilton House and Salisbury Cathedral, and tiny St. Andrew's Church where poet George Herbert preached—and Whitehall’s underground maze of Churchill's War Rooms. See our full itinerary for all the fascinating sites we'll visit—plus excellent accommodations, wonderful food, and literary discussions led by Drs. Christopher Hodgkins and Hope Howell Hodgkins.

            The full itinerary can be found on Studio Traveler’s website.

            www.studiotraveler.com or call 336.312.5654

            Study Abroad

            Visit the Glories of Ancient Greece
            June 9–19, 2023

            Course Details

            Join an archaeological team of professors, Joanne Murphy of UNC Greensboro and Shannon Hogue of UMass Amherst, and 11 students from the US and Ireland as they prepare for their field season with a tour of the highlights of ancient Greece. This tour is an exciting and novel way to explore ancient Greek culture.

            Contact Dr. Joanne Murphy jmmurph2@uncg.edu for program details.

            Adverse Weather and Class Cancellations

            When the university closes due to adverse weather (such as ice and/or snow, or other conditions) Emeritus Society classes are cancelled as well. Details can be found on the UNCG homepage (www.uncg.edu) or by dialing one of the following numbers:

            Adverse Weather Line (336-334-4400)

            Campus Switchboard (336-334-5000)

            Details are also available on the Triad’s four television stations: WFMY-TV (News 2), WGHP-TV (Fox 8), WXII-TV (News Channel 12) and WXLV (ABC 45). Some area radio stations also have information.

            When the university decides to remain open but Emeritus Society classes are cancelled, you will be notified of the cancellation by Serve, Inc.



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